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Global 13

In FocusPapua New Guinea with its seven seats, to join a broad coali- tion. The reconciliation then received the Key data blessing of Somare and two other former  Population: 6,858,000 (2010) prime ministers.  Offi cial languages: English, Tok The prime minister is now backing a new Pisin, Hiri Motu law to guarantee a period of 30 months be- Papua New fore a government can face a no-confi dence  Literacy: 60.6% motion, in place of the current 18 months.  Life expectancy: 62 years Indonesia Guinea Although elections are held only every fi ve •Madang: Port MoresbyCapital years, in the past some governments have •Lae been challenged in parliament after only  Land area: 462,840 km2 •Daru • six months in offi ce. “This has not created  GDP: $16.9 billion (2011 est.) Port stability at all,” O’Neill told the National Moresby  GNI per capita: $1,300 (2010 est.) Press Club in Canberra during a visit to Australia. “It does not give confi dence to  Main exports: oil, gold, copper, any investor.” logs, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, Corruption is a big issue in Papua New crayfi sh, prawns Australia Guinea and one of the ‘three Cs’ – corrup- tion, crime and compensation – hotly de- bated at social gatherings. Justice Minister Kerenga Kua is trying to (‘one talk’) system, people in towns speak Payments made corruptly range from foster debate on the issue, telling parlia- fondly of “mywantok”, meaning someone coins slipped to petty bureaucrats or village ment that “courts are slowly warming to the from the same village or tribal area, with offi cials to big sums deposited in senior idea of imposing the death penalty… in the the implication that awantok is a trustwor- offi cials’ foreign bank accounts. Foreign hope it can act as a deterrent”. Much talk thy person. company representatives say it’s a cost of centres on the comparative costs of differ- When young people leave villages to try doing business. ent types of execution. their luck in town, elders remind them to O’Neill has described corruption as a contactwantoks, who are obliged to assist “cancer” that has to be eradicated, argu- them and act as guardians, helping ensure O’Neill has described ing that it “undermines efforts to maintain the newcomers don’t drift into bad com- political stability and social cohesion”. He corruption as a pany and becomeraskols. promises to establish an independent anti- And the third ‘C’, compensation? It’s a corruption commission. “cancer” that has to be centuries-old custom with agrarian origins Although successive political leaders eradicated, arguing that it where, if a person or village wrongs another have promised much the same without sig- person or village, compensation – typically nifi cant alteration to the social fabric, this “undermines eff orts a pig, other livestock or crops – is paid. time there is optimism in Port Moresby that Compensation disputes still spark violent the prime minister means business. The to maintain political tribal clashes. A modern spin has groups corrupt are growing nervous and there is stability and social of villages combining to obtain compensa- less complacency. tion from multinational mining companies Over the past year, a special task force cohesion” for pollution, other environmental dam- has been investigating reported cases of age or relocation. The most celebrated in- corruption and looking into some 170 com- stance was in Bougainville, where one of plaints involving around US$1 billion in In discussing solutions to the crime prob- the world’s largest copper, gold and silver public funds. lem, experts point out that it helps to under- open-cast mines was forced to close. Peace The second ‘C’ – crime – has mostly to stand the country’s strong tradition of tribal agreements, which were signed in 2001 and do with so-called raskol (pidgin for ‘ras- pride, which is highly regarded in Papua which promised greater local autonomy, cal’) gangs, which attract village youths New Guinea. In what’s called the wantok were heralded as a precursor to a referen- as foot-soldiers. Gangs are commonly in- dum (so far not held) on separation. Some volved in opportunistic street crime such compensation was paid to local landown- as muggings and burglaries as well as the ers – the amounts were not revealed – while drug trade, ensuring that after-dark ambling unconfi rmed rumours circulate periodically in Port Moresby and other major towns is a that the mine may reopen. high-risk activity. Crime levels are blamed There is no shortage of challenges await- posting for offi cials. Credit: UN Photo/Lou Rouse parliamentarians.uni25CFChris Pritchard is a journalist based ining the attention of Prime Minister O’Neill,and his success in dealing with them willbe closely watched, not least by his fellowThe impact of crime has fuelled resur- for stunting economic development, partic- ularly in tourism. Developed nations rou- tinely classify Port Moresby as a hardship gent discussion of the death penalty. The last person hanged was a convict executed Sydney, Australia. He has travelled often and by colonial authorities in 1954 for murder- Prime Minister O’Neill addressing the UN General widely in Papua New Guinea ing another prisoner. Attorney-General and Assembly in New York globalfirst quarter 2013 www.global-briefing.org l73


Global 13
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